Doctors stress benefits of cord blood donation

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The joy of bringing a new life into the world is something mothers never forget, but doctors say new moms can also save a life during delivery.

July is Cord Blood Donation Awareness Month. The importance of donating blood is often discussed, but doctors nationwide want more people to know how critical umbilical cord blood donations are.

“The fetal blood actually has a higher concentration of the stem cells, which are actually cells that you can actually use to regenerate new cells,” said Dr. Marcos Cordoba, who works in Spectrum Health’s Maternal Fetal Medicine Unit.

He explained it’s “extremely helpful” to collect the blood because it can play a major role in helping people with conditions like leukemia and lymphoma.

No needles poke any newborns in the cord blood collection process, Cordoba explained. The blood is drawn out of the umbilical cord and placenta, which are often disposed of.

umbilical cord blood donation
Doctors collect an umbilical cord blood donation. (Courtesy Spectrum Health Beat)

“It’s something that otherwise is going to be wasted,” Cordoba said.

It’s an option during vaginal or cesarean section delivery.

Cordoba said that expectant mothers must start the process during prenatal care. There are forms and screenings that must be completed.

Doctors hope to see an increase in the number of families choosing to donate. Cordoba believes that can happen if more people know how much the choice can help.

Mothers can choose to keep the collected blood for potential health issues she or her child may have in the future.

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